Monday, April 19, 2010

GUAVA-LORE OF BENGAL

M. Bandyopadhyay, K. Chakraborti
Though guava was an introduction in India in the XVIIth century A.D. by the Portuguese but it is now one of the important subtropical fruits of India vis-a-vis West Bengal. In the last decade several commercial orchards were developed in South 24-Parganas, Midnapore and Nadia district of West Bengal. In the state, the crop presently (2003-2004) covers 9.00 thousand ha with a production of about 133.79 thousand mt. The crop ranks fifth in area after mango, banana, pineapple and jackfruit. The importance of this plant is deeply felt by various folk and tribal societies of Bengal. Hence guava plants have been used recently in folk rites, rituals and festivals. Folk healers use guava plant as folk medicines for curing ailments. The reiterative need of this species called for its salvation which acted as guava seedling germplasm conservation of today. Different folklores are evolved in the agrarian folk societies in the form of oral literature like proverbs, rhymes, riddles, folk songs etc. So guava-lore is the sum total of cultural heritage relating to guava which is preserved in folk memory, in oral tradition and perpetuated in folk practices. Bending of guava twigs is one of the important ITKs of South 24-Parganas of Bengal leading to good winnings in off season. This lore passes from generation to generation by simple word of mouth. In this treatise various categories of folklore and wisdom related to guava have been described in brief with special reference to Bengal.
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